Musings-discover | 3 min read | by Dysco

On marrying India’s traditional past with its dynamic present: Shashi Tharoor at JLF – Prince Patni’s Dysco Diary

Shashi Tharoor needs no introduction as an intellectual, an Indian politician and a seasoned member of parliament. He is also a published author and was a speaker at the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) 2018. Shashi Tharoor’s insights and bold perspective leave little to no room to retaliate, for even the most regressive ideologists. Prince Patni, a Jaipur local, was eager to hear Tharoor’s views on the previous and current political climate of the country. While Patni is formally a data analytics and intelligence expert, who works in the tech industry, he simultaneously runs a Jaipur-focussed blog. Below is his Dysco Diary entry, detailing his take on Tharoor’s session at JLF. You can chat with Prince via his Dysco Profile to know more about the festival or to discuss other collaboration opportunities. 

When Shashi Tharoor speaks, the world listens. There’s a magnetism in his voice that compels you to listen with attentiveness. Hailing as one of the brightest speakers and the author of multiple bestsellers, Shashi Tharoor was at the coveted Jaipur Literature Festival this Sunday, 28th January 2018. While one might prefer to spend Sundays lazing around, when life gives you the chance to listen to India’s most charismatic politician up close, you wouldn’t risk missing it!

The talk commenced with the unveiling of Shashi Tharoor’s book; Andhakar Kaal: Colonialism and its After Effects, graced by the presence of Rukshamani Kumari, a social activist and member of the Royal Family of Chomu, Saurabh Dwivedi and Anant Vijay.

Shashi Tharoor’s striking ideologies and poignant thoughts on India’s history, astonished the audience with some lesser known facts about India when it was under the British rule. Gasps were heard as Tharoor boldly stated, “Hinduism cannot be left to Hindutva but the current government seeks uniformity and not unity in diversity .” His manner of speaking was characteristically direct, and you could see the audience relating to his words. He urged listeners to realise that while they might be rigid followers of any religion, the public in general needs to provide space for diversity, and continue in peace.

As the evening progressed, the discussions became more riveting. Dwivedi asked Tharoor about his stance on Hindi not becoming the national language of India; to which Tharoor responded, “I am not against Hindi, I am just suggesting not to include Hindi as national language.” He further explained that if one must give a speech at the UN, speaking in Hindi wouldn’t be as effective due to language barriers with global participants.

“One language that comforts Shukla and Sharma, but not Subramaniam, would not be a great idea keeping in mind India’s diversity,” he said. While one could consistently hear the crowd praising him through the entire event, it was at this moment that the crowd filled the room with roaring applause, admiring his wisdom and wit.

Saurabh Dwivedi controlled the session beautifully, continuing to throw some tough questions at Shashi Tharoor. He adeptly remained politically correct throughout the discussion, while still presenting his bold opinions on taking back the Kohinoor diamond from the British, the massacre of Jallianwala Bagh, Brexit and a number of other subjects that are touching Indian politics today.

By the end of the talk, Tharoor’s opinions were seconded by Saurabh Dwivedi, both agreeing that a good writer is one who isn’t afraid to ask provocative questions, and is equally comfortable answering them.

Shashi Tharoor’s discussion at JLF turned out to be worth the hype and build up that surrounded it. His manner of speaking is enough to convey his passion and conviction for India’s progress. While Tharoor’s adaptability, confrontational personality or intellect evidently makes him a brilliant orator, his ability to respect traditional Indian heritage while being open to modern ideologies makes him an invaluable asset as an Indian politician today. I was mesmerised for a while after his session was over, but I suppose that is the effect of such an experience.

India’s youth is passionate and dynamic, stimulated by the words of youth icons in the public sector, especailly those whom they can relate to, like Shashi Tharoor. Inspiring change is difficult, but offering a perspective that blends traditional values with modern experiences is a more viable way to work towards  a better India.

This article is written by Prince Patni and edited by Team Dysco on his request. The featured image is sourced from Wikimedia, while the image in the body of the article was taken by Prince at Zee JLF 2018.